What is Suicidal Ideation?

Suicidal ideation is considering, planning, or wanting to commit suicide. There are two types of suicidal ideation: Passive suicidal ideation is when you are considering the idea of suicide or wish you were dead. Active suicidal ideation is when you not only consider committing suicide, but you have intent or plans to carry it out.

When we talk about either type of suicidal ideation we are really talking about severe hopelessness. When people find...


Addiction and the Holidays

It’s that time of the year again - great food, dessert, family and friends. Good times, right?

For many struggling with addiction, the holidays can be very stressful. The most stressful time of the year, in fact. Many activities revolve...

Mental Health

A Practical Look at Addiction and The Brain Disease Model

For many years, the primary school of thought surrounding addiction has been the brain disease model. While the debate still continues over if addiction is really a disease, there may never be a definitive answer, so we will take a practical approach and look at what works about the model and what doesn’t.
What is the Brain Disease Model of Addiction
Let’s start with a definition: The Brain Disease Model of Addiction describes addiction as a disease, rather than a disorder, syndrome, or...

Mental Health

Addiction and Neuroscience: Old Dogs, New Tricks

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” This has been accepted knowledge for so long that it’s an actual proverb. People (and dogs, apparently) reach a certain age and their habits are set. They’ll never clear the table after dinner. They’ll never pick up those socks.

They’ll never escape that addictive habit.

Except, good news, that proverb is wrong. Very, very wrong.

Although much of a human’s brain development has solidified by the age of twenty, our brains...

Substance Abuse

Addiction and the Opioid Epidemic

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “Every day, more than 115 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids.”

Let that statistic sink in for a moment.

Opioids, which historically were used to treat pain conditions, are easily addictive. The misuse of prescribed medications, or ingestion of street drugs such as heroin or fentanyl, leads to the potential for abuse, addiction, and overdose.

Taking time to learn about the history of opioids and how they affect an individual will help you understand how they can lead to addiction, and what is necessary to get help if you’re experiencing struggling with substance problems yourself.

Mental Health

Top Signs of Unhealed Trauma, Part 2

“The psychological distress symptoms of traumatized people simultaneously call attention to the existence of an unspeakable secret and deflect attention from it.”

In this quote from Trauma and Recovery, trauma expert Judith Herman makes an important point. On one hand, people with trauma often call attention to their suffering through unhealthy behaviors such as self-harm and drug abuse.

But on the other hand, these same behaviors also serve to distract others from the real issue at hand. The addictions and abuses cover up the secret pain at the core of the individual’s experience.

In working with addiction, it’s essential to get to the heart of the matter - to look beyond the obvious symptoms of dysfunction to the underlying core issues that are actually driving the behavior.

In our last post, we shared 5 key indicators of unhealed trauma. In this post, we’ll give you 5 more, as well as resources to guide you on the road to recovery.

Mental Health

Top Signs of Unhealed Trauma, Part 1

“The ordinary response to atrocities is to banish them from consciousness.”

So writes Judith Herman in her powerful book Trauma and Recovery. In this text, Herman expresses a fundamental truth about trauma: We tend to push it down and out of sight. Most of us know what it means to hide away from the worst things that have happened to us.

The problem is that banishing our traumas doesn’t make them go away. As Herman notes in the same passage, “Atrocities … refuse to be buried …. Remembering and telling the truth about terrible events are prerequisites both for the restoration of the social order and for the healing of individual victims.”

In other words, you need to be able to recognize and name your trauma in order to heal from it.